November 16, 1991 |
President Fernando Collor de Mello took a major step toward satisfying environmentalists' demands by formalizing the reservation of the Amazon's Yanomami Indians. Collor's decree grants permanent rights over 36,358 square miles of dense Amazon rain forest in the northern state of Roraima to the primitive tribe whose population has dwindled to 10,000. Decimated by malaria and other diseases brought to their traditional lands by gold prospectors, the Yanomami have been threatened with extinction.
June 6, 1986 |
Bloody land disputes and a crossfire of criticism by landowners and Roman Catholic bishops have forced President Jose Sarney to order a new course for Brazil's lagging land reform program. More than 100 people have been killed in land disputes this year, according to Catholic Church officials. Most of the victims have been peasants, but two priests, a nun and a rural education adviser have also been killed. The toll is 50% higher than it was at this time last year.
December 3, 1995 |
Sebastiao Ponciano, 49, hadn't had a steady job for four years. When he heard in April that the Movement of Landless Rural Workers was seizing and occupying big ranches in the western tip of Sao Paulo state, he joined the squatters. Makeshift camps of plastic-covered huts sprang up like mushrooms, sheltering the more than 2,000 families who rushed in to claim a piece of land.
July 5, 2003 |
Brazilian peasants ended a two-week ranch invasion, saying they expected to win land rights after President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva threw his weight behind reform this week. Vans and buses flying the red flag of the Landless Workers Movement, or MST, streamed out of the ranch about 25 miles west of Brasilia. MST lawyer Elmano Freitas said activists were leaving the ranch with a promise from Brazil's land reform agency that they would be given some of the property.
October 6, 2012 |
ELDORADO DOS CARAJAS, Brazil - At 4 in the afternoon on April 17, 1996, a 13-year-old girl with blond hair climbed onto a truck stopped on a road in the Amazon basin. From the top, Ana Paula Silva - known for a long time after as "the girl" - could see everything. More than a thousand protesters had gathered on the road outside a village called Eldorado dos Carajas. People called them the sem terra , the landless. They sharecropped for large landowners, and they were among the poorest people in a country of very many poor and very few rich.
April 6, 2000 |
A charismatic leader of Brazil's land reform movement was acquitted Wednesday of murder charges in a trial that has focused attention on the plight of the country's poor farm workers. Jose Rainha Jr., leader of the Landless Rural Workers Movement, had been charged with being the mastermind behind the killing of two men during a botched attempt to take over a farm in 1989. At his first trial three years ago, he was convicted and sentenced to 26 1/2 years in prison.